Archive for:January, 2009


January 31st, 2009

My hens
and my chicks
they live again. Rotty
sludge time’s up. No more
mushy dank.

No more of that mold at the root.

O my unmoisteneers,
my Hens and Chicks!

[posted by: C Way at 4:18 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY]

I overwatered my Hens & Chicks

January 24th, 2009

I have a succulent named Alicia,
she’s what’s known as a Hens & Chicks plant.

It’s dying. The base is mushy and black.

Don’t overwater your succulents.

[posted by: C Way at 8:09 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY]

Animal Collective at Bowery Ballroom – Show Review – Jan 21, 2009

January 24th, 2009

Animal Collective   Animal Collective   Animal Collective

Here’s what I remember:


Timed strips of vertical light that glowed hot,
like radioactive piano keys.

Avey’s hunching shoulders, his face scrunching up and widening out,
contracting and dilating as emotion hit him, like a pupil responding to light.
His hoots and barks and punctuating shouts.

Geologist’s spelunker light while he bobbed like a boxer. In front of his wires & equipment, reminding me of a surgeon seen over forceps & tubes and an open chest.

Panda Bear’s big fluffed christmasy sweater, his tender vocals, the way he surprised me by how hard he came down on his drumset, like axes on stumps.

And their sound, all that good wide-eyed flushed swirl lathering up my brain, cleaning it up with kind hands, kind but also startling with its mass and power: Hiss of waves. Propellers. Inhalations. Tropics, crowded bazaars, arguments, coos, marina wave laps and boats leaving. All of it balm, and a little painful at the same time, like scratches on your back.

“Fireworks” and its flangy percussion holding it together like a spine, a long perforated spine, and its melody, its chorus’s wordless melody curving around like a desert snake, curling around and up and down, restless, a gusted ribbon.

“Comfy in Nautica” for the encore, saturating the air with its mantra, the refrain building and building, the sound massing, like children making a sandcastle that’s big enough to scream and sleep in, a soft cathedral built up in you, from outside you.

And all the people around me, glad and dancing, loud & full of thanks.


After, I was a little raw, almost sad. I couldn’t understand why. It wasn’t because it was over, or too short, or anything like that.

I decided that a show like this can leave you raw, longing for something undefinable. It can peel you back like fruit. As if music was a paring knife, skinning you. A knife with prayers and poems etched in the handle.

C. Way/ © 2009

[posted by: C Way at 7:13 PM]

[file under: Music]

Roberto Bolano’s ‘The Savage Detectives’ – Review

January 19th, 2009

Roberto Bolano’s “The Savage Detectives” is a throng, nothing but voice, dense and heaped and onrushing, diary and anecdote and account & perspective piled on account & perspective until the mind hums in warm bliss, the kind you get in crowds, pressed among others drunk-sweaty & waiting for amps to crackle; you do like crowds don’t you?

I love them. I love their teem & their press. But it has to be a legitimate sardiney mob, it can’t just be 8 people sparsely populating a slowly-filling dance floor. There can’t be space to really stretch my arms. There must be such press that I temporarily overcome my lifelong shivery people fear and achieve a kind of magic solitude among a space filled with bodies. So that you’re so jammed in you can’t focus on faces or sets of eyes, it’s just you and big anonymous Other. A kind of escape from fear of a thing — here, other humans — by living within the very aggregated, undiluted fulfillment of it.

Bolano’s novel offers this. It offers mass of voice, chorale of being, of processions of people trying to sing their impassioned stories about what the hell happened to them between life and Mexico and politics and poetry and money and sex and death. It’s not a plotted narrative so much as a a polyglot town hall meeting about the state of the spirit with everyone sobbing and gnashing and laughing in each other’s faces and hunting around for the goddamned microphone. Bursting to tell their side of — of what? Of what story?

Of Mexico in the 70s and 80s. More specifically, of Mexico in the 70s and 80s and how its disaffected youth, its young poets and students, lacking faith in religion or state, grope for something else to trust in. Of young poets and students who turn to art instead. Of what happens to these kids, these impoverished self-destructive kids chasing after truth in poems and the legends of the poets who made them, elusive & magical Nadjas & Godots with names like Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima and Caesera Tinajero (get used to those names; they’re the hunted/speculated-upon/wondered-about/ fantasized-over/derided/ridiculed triune throughout much of the novel). Of quests, fruitful and fruitless chases not for riches or vengeance or maidens or power, but instead for meaning in the way we express ourselves and thereby document the world. And of the absurdity and tragedy and nobility of that quest.

This is a rich novel, and what it lacks in plot it more than makes up for in character and timbre of voice. There is the careful pizzicato of Luis Sebastian Rosado’s romantic & ginger accounts of his trysts with Luscious Skin. There is the good-natured, naive, angsty viol of Juan Garcia Madero. There is the gnashing distemper of Barbara Patterson’s interviews, bilious as a sonata for violin-bow scrape. There are hilarious piccolo pipings of the self-important pedants & sycophants hanging on to and chasing after poets who themselves are hanging on to and chasing after poets. And there is the mystical violin shimmer of why it all matters, why we care, why penniless pilgrims seek so endlessly, travel so widely, for a glimpse of what they hold to be wellspring of spirit, for just one stanza, for just one line, just one image that can make what we endure on the planet seem worthwhile.

A mad book, a hilarious and terrifying book, this is a book to read in hungry, starving animal gulps. Stop and catch your breath when you read too fast — which you will — beat your chest while you clear your throat. Now tuck back into it like a wolf.

C. Way/ © 2009

[posted by: C Way at 8:12 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY]

Kazuo Ohno: Message to the Universe – 1998

January 3rd, 2009


A Message to the Universe
by Kazuo Ohno, 1998

“On the verge of death one revisits the joyful moments of a lifetime.

One’s eyes are opened wide-gazing into the palm, seeing death, life, joy and sorrow with a sense of tranquillity.

This daily studying of the soul, is this the beginning of the journey ?

I sit bewildered in the playground of the dead. Here I wish to dance and dance and dance and dance, the life of the wild grass.

I see the wild grass, I am the wild grass, I become one with the universe. That metamorphosis is the cosmology and studying of the soul.

In the abundance of nature I see the foundation of dance. Is this because my soul wants to physically touch the truth ?

When my mother was dying I caressed her hair all night long without being able to speak one word of comfort. Afterwards, I realized that I was not taking care of her, but that she was taking care of me.

The palms of my mother’s hands are precious wild grass to me.

I wish to dance the dance of wild grass to the utmost of my heart.”

———————————* * * * ——————————–


I think about what Ohno meant. The wild grass dance: can this be where we converge, if we are able, with mother of womb and mother of soil; with both at once? Where we creatively express (in dance, art, smile, love, song) so joyously in life — “joy” not as a function of happiness but simply of pure coursing blood & exhalation — that we merge with the core within us [our past, our genes, our biology] and outside us [our partners in soil, in air, on land, in the tiniest cells of the smallest motes; all of which are also us, comprised of the same stuff as us]?

Creativity and expression as acts of radical reconciliation between ourselves and ourselves.

Ohno talks of stroking his dying mother’s hair. Is it so with our planet? We tend as best we can in her Autumn, already having grieved her to collapse after the Spring and Summer of our human life with her, stroking her in a comfortless set of gestures. In reality, she is the one caring for us, still allowing us to live and breathe, and eat, and enjoy & survive by the still-interwoven but slowly-fraying web of vitality connecting bees to flowers to birds to wind to soil to sun to leaf to oxygen to us, to us.

There is nothing to do but feel this to root.

Be wild grass even as it dies back, falls back to cracks in pavement, roots slow-buckling slabs of it up in joyous revolt.


(More about Kazuo Ohno here)

[posted by: C Way at 3:45 PM]

[file under: non-fiction & essays]